This view shows grass Vikings practice fields in the foreground, with the indoor practice facility on the back left, office space in the center and a multipurpose stadium in the back right.
The proposal for the Vikings new headquarters officially kicked off this week, but it is still early in the discussion between the Vikings and the City of Eagan.
The Vikings submitted a project narrative and design guidelines for the proposal to City of Eagan officials, including Mayor Mike Maguire, and will await feedback in the ongoing talks that could lead to the relocation of the Vikings.
Maguire spoke about the proposal Thursday morning in his State of the City 2016 address:
"Our planning folks received the Vikings plan and proposal to develop, in phases, 194 acres on the old Northwest Airlines headquarters in northeast Eagan," Maguire said. "That is in the door and we'll get ready to act.
"Eagan is getting rather used to handling these sorts of large, creative, impactful projects, so after city staff and the planning commission review those plans," Maguire continued, "the city council and I expect to take up their proposal as early as May, and we look forward to hearing public impact on that, but before that, I have to say this vast, expansive land on our northern edge represents a great opportunity, not just for the Vikings and their owners, but for our community as well. We look forward to continuing to work with you to envision the opportunities and possibilities for northeast Eagan."
The proposed stadium would rest in natural contours of the landscape, just south of the Vikings office complex and feature a sports turf surface. It could host a multitude of events, including "Friday Night Lights" high school football, as well as soccer or lacrosse and other civic events.
The Vikings completed the due diligence period of the purchase of the former Northwest Airlines headquarters at the intersection of Dodd Road and Lone Oak Parkway in January. That parcel is 185 acres, and the team separately purchased an adjacent 9-acre parcel.
The Vikings and Eagan recently completed an Alternative Urban Area Review of the project that includes a Traffic Impact Study. The AUAR is a flexible type of environmental impact study that will be reviewed every five years.
The AUAR allowed for the projection of multiple scenarios that include development of mixed-use residential/retail/restaurant areas. The 194 acres would be divided into seven zones, according to use. The areas would be anchored by the team's headquarters and completed in phases over several years.
This is an aerial view of the masterplan for all 194 acres that would be split into seven districts, according to use. The development would begin with the Vikings headquarters (Zone 3). Item 3A would be the indoor practice facility, item 3B would provide locker room and office space, item 3C would be a 5,000-6,000 seat stadium expandable to 10,000 seats with a view of the wetland to the east. District 4 includes plans for a full-service hotel/conference center (item 4C). District 7 would provide a core of commercial development that could be highlighted by multiple restaurants. Districts 2 and 6 are proposed to be residential areas, while 5 could be a combination of retail/residential. District 1 (item B) is proposed to be another hotel.
The initial phase of the development would be the new Vikings headquarters (approximately 40 acres, or 29 when an existing wetland is not included in the calculation). The proposed headquarters location is more than twice the size of the Vikings existing Winter Park headquarters.
The expanded facility would allow all of the team's employees (currently split in three facilities) to work under one roof. Plans call for an indoor facility with a roof line high enough to allow punting drills, multiple grass practice fields, and a 5,000-6,000 seat stadium that could be expanded to 10,000 seats.
The Vikings would like the stadium to be an asset for the team and community, a venue for public and civic events and athletics. It could be used to host "Friday Night Lights" high school games of the week, soccer, lacrosse. A hockey rink, perhaps, could be placed on the sports turf surface.
One proposed zone of the development calls for a hotel and large conference center, and another zone would include plans for a smaller hotel. Other zones would be multifamily residential, corporate/medical office space or a blend of multifamily residential and retail.
Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren said the vision remains to build a "world-class environment" for the team and the community that engages sports, business and entrepreneurial spirit.
This illustrates green space areas that would be preserved or added to the development. The proposal calls for 10-foot-wide pedestrian/bicycle trails (red lines) to be added and link the districts while connecting to other public trails in the area, as well as sidewalks on one or both sides of streets (orange lines).
A couple of elements from the initial design proposal have changed.
Vikings Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Steve Poppen said the stadium has been relocated to better-integrate into the typography of the landscape, be closer to parking and enjoy a view to the east of a wetland. The shifting of the stadium would place it south of the team headquarters and indoor practice facilities, which would mitigate crowd noise for existing residential areas north of I-494.
Poppen said the proposed location of the hotel with the conference center has been moved from west of the Vikings headquarters to the east in large part to preserve more trees that already exist on the property.
"The vision is becoming further developed," Poppen said. "The [Vikings headquarters section] impacts the other areas. The further we get with this, the vision is becoming more solid. We're more confident the uses are going to be closer to this than when we first submitted."
In addition to opening the stadium to host high school and community events, the Vikings proposal places significant emphasis on public trails and the preservation of existing wetland/greenspace areas. Each zone would be connected by 10-foot-wide pedestrian and bicycle trails that would link to the planned Mendota-Lebanon Hills Greenway and existing trails.